Golf: A Historic Cape Cod Pastime? You Bet Yer Big Bertha!

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Did you know that Cape Cod has more golf courses than beaches? OK, that’s not true. That’s ACTUALLY fake news, but what IS true is that we have LOTS and LOTS of beautiful courses throughout every area of Cape Cod and the islands–close to 50 in all. Now, if you are staying here at the Lamb and Lion Inn, you won’t be able to “talk golf” to us innkeepers. The last time I was on a course was 6 years ago in Myrtle Beach when my younger brother was jettisoned from the cart as it careened sideways into a sand trap, my older brother sustained several cuts from a second incident (I STILL don’t understand what happened there), and the game ended abruptly with a phone call that my youngest brother’s kid was stuck in an elevator. The problem for me is that golf is too long, and if you don’t have the patience–or if you’re more accustomed to living at a slightly faster pace–things can happen. Recently Ali and I decided to throw our black-n-blue, beaten and embarrassed golf clubs away and traded them in for croquet mallets. We are now proud members of the Sandwich Croquet Club, but that’s a whole other blog (if anyone from the croquet club is reading this please note that all stories about me and other incidents on a golf course mentioned here are simply the result of that specific sport).

All that aside, if you are a serious golfer, love the game and appreciate the game’s history, Cape Cod is clearly a destination for you. The closest course to the Lamb and Lion is less than 2 miles away. The Hyannis Golf Course is a public, 18 hole golf course and is home to the Cape Cod Open, hosted the 2015 Cape Cod PGA Championship, has a 55 station driving range and has a fully stocked and very organized first-aid kit. Just another mile or two away is the Olde Barnstable Fairgrounds course, which is considered one of the “top 25” courses in New England. This course is a Mark Mungeam designed course, and although it’s not open to the public, if you are a regular visitor to Cape Cod the yearly membership is priced pretty reasonably (and might make for a good reason to keep coming back to the Lamb and Lion Inn). Although it’s a mystery what the Olde Barnstable Fairgrounds property use to be before it became a golf course, the gorgeous landscaping and spacious club area make this a very popular destination.

Of course Cape Cod is steeped in history and its gold courses are no exception. Going back to the days of Camelot, President John F. Kennedy called the Hyannisport Club home, where you might spot familiar faces like Martin Sheen, Dan Aykroyd or Bill Murray, who have all golfed rounds with Ethel Kennedy, the organizer of the annual RFK Human Rights Golf Tournament. And other world leaders have graced our local courses, including past Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama who have both played on Martha’s Vineyard during their vacations from the White House.

Hyannisport Golf Club (a “Camelotta money” to join)

If you want to go way-way back in history, the gone-but-not-forgotten Cedar Banks Links in Eastham–which is now part of the Cape Cod National Seashore–was once an exclusive 18-hole course in the 1920’s and 1930’s that once hosted golf legends like Francis Ouimet and Bobby Jones. Speaking of famous people, Hockey Hall of Famer (and local Cape Codder), Bobby Orr is part owner of The Ridge Club in Sandwich (private), so if you have a friend who can get you on the course there’s a good change you might run into Big-D Bobby, who is always generous with his time for a handshake and a quick story.

Francis Ouimet and Bobby Jones playing Cedar Bank Links

If you’re like me and find golf a little too time consuming–or perhaps you want to get in a quick 9-holes before packing up the family for a day on the beach or a whale watch–check out Highland Links in North Truro. Highland Links is a historic 9-hole course that dates back to 1892. Golf the well manicured course that highlights breezes of fresh, salt air and Cape Cod Light, which keeps a watchful eye over the 9th hole.

The beautiful 9th hole setting at Highland Links

If you’re reading this and planning your visit to the mid-Cape area you should know that 6 towns have 2 courses for public play (the furthest being only 20 minutes from our inn):

Brewster (Captains Golf Course and Starboard), Yarmouth (Bass River and Bayberry Hills), Barnstable (Hyannis Golf Course and Olde Barnstable Fairgrounds–both mentioned above), Sandwich (Holly Ridge and Sandwich Hollows), Dennis (Highlands and Pines) and Harwich (Cranberry Valley and Harwich Port Golf Club).

Hope you can “swing” a Cape Cod getaway soon!